MAJOR SPOILER WARNING! Anyone who clicked this article knows that there are going to be big giveaways below for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, but this is a final warning anyway.
The day finally arrived when Breaking Bad fans could savor one more chapter of Vince Gilligan's dark crime saga via El Camino, with Aaron Paul's Jesse Pinkman at the center of this redemption-seeking epilogue. Paul's own involvement was in question back when El Camino was still a desert mirage (before real confirmations finally arrived), but fans cheered when it was clear the Netflix and AMC feature was going to follow Jesse's post-finale story. What about the other Breaking Bad characters who showed up along Jesse's way, though?
Below, we've rounded up all of El Camino's familiar faces that were oh-so-welcome for Breaking Bad fans. Considering Jesse was the main thrust, some of the appearances were expected, some were already announced, but some were legitimately pleasant and heartwarming surprises. So without further ado, bitch, let's lay out all the big Breaking Bad characters who popped up.
Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks)
Stunningly enough, El Camino kicked off with some gorgeous scenery and some mother-effing Jonathan Banks back as Breaking Bad's Mike, as opposed to the Better Call Saul version of Mike that has captured many viewers' attention in the last four years. Jesse somewhat naively talked to Mike about getting out of the meth game, and asked Mike where he would go if he could start fresh. Mike's answer was Alaska, so there was poetic justice to be found in Jesse heading up to Alaska in El Camino's final minutes. (It might have been more shocking had Banks not already copped to his cameo.)
Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger (Matt Jones)
Without many places to turn to first, Jesse hit up his Breaking Bad BFFs Skinny Pete and Badger's house pretty soon after becoming a free man again. His toke-happy friends graciously welcomed him in and gave him everything he needed, as far as food, shower space and a bed went; Badger got a little uncouth when asking Jesse about being kept in a cage, but it was a rare misstep.
Skinny Pete proved his colors 110% by concocting his car-switcheroo plan, in which Badger amusingly got tasked with driving for hours and then hitchhiking back, while Jesse went off in a different vehicle. This situation is clearly what led to Skinny Pete, who kept the El Camino, being taken into custody and interrogated. That moment was seen in the movie's first promo, but it did not appear in El Camino itself; that said, as soon as Skinny Pete was shown, Matt Jones' Badger was a given to appear.
Old Joe (Larry Hankin)
Ever the sight for sore eyes, Larry Hankin's Old Joe showed up as a way for Jesse to try and get rid of the El Camino, though the car's LoJack security system scared him off. With his cameo first revealed via clip, the salvage yard owner always made for fun appearances on Breaking Bad, and Old Joe referenced on of Walt and Jesse's best visits during El Camino. He brought up "Magnets, bitch!" and admitted he didn't think Jesse's plan would work back in Season 5's "Live Free or Die."
Todd Alquist (Jesse Plemons)
One major surprise in El Camino's favor was the hefty amount of screentime given to Jesse Plemons' sometimes hilariously sadistic Todd. He showed up via a selection of flashbacks that opened another window into how poorly Jesse was treated by the white supremacists in general, and by the slightly more empathetic Todd in particular. He's got bean and bacon soup!
Todd's inclusion, beyond the black comedy element involving the dead housekeeper, was partly meant to draw Jesse and audiences to the large stash of money in Todd's apartment that would end up funding Jesse's escape to Alaska. It was also meant to highlight the instance where Jesse, having found Todd's gun during an excursion, could have taken his shot and possibly escaped his tortured set-up all on his own. But we all know that didn't happen.
Adam (Michael Bofshever) and Diane Pinkman (Tess Harper)
From a certain perspective, Jesse's parents did all the things that any parent might do if their child was caught up in the heavy drug game. But from the Breaking Bad fan's perspective, Jesse's mother and father were a pair of chumps who never believed in Jesse hard enough, and they definitely fell into that camp in El Camino.
First appearing on the news to plead with Jesse to turn himself in, Adam and Diana Pinkman later showed up again when Jesse called and fooled them into leaving home so that he could sneak inside and get a pair of guns. Fun fact: Jesse's mom didn't have a name on Breaking Bad, so El Camino is the first time we've seen "Diane" to be her name. Also, Jesse's brother Jake wasn't around.
Ed the Disappearer (Robert Forster)
Sparsely used in Breaking Bad for understandably reasons, Robert Forster's Ed Galbraith was another one of the familiar faces that Jesse had to hit up in his desperate attempt to leave his old life behind. Jesse used process of elimination to determine which vacuum repair shop Ed worked at, and then he unwisely showed up in person, putting Ed on edge. (As if any of Ed's emotions could be read on that face.) Though Jesse was initially short the money he needed to change his identity, he eventually found it all, and Ed did the honor of driving Jesse all the way to Alaska.
Kenny (Kevin Rankin)
An actor who excels at playing shitbirds on TV, Kevin Rankin showed up in the latter half of El Camino to reprise his role of Kenny, the second-in-command within Uncle Jack's clan of neo-Nazis. In the movie, he exploited the confined Jesse in front of Neil, the Kandy Welding guy, in showing how strong the tethered system that Jesse would be strapped to. It was a disturbing moment, but made all the better by knowing Kenny is dead and gone in the current timeline.
Walter White (Bryan Cranston)
After dropping multiple mentions of "White" and "Heisenberg" on the radio and TV news reports, with some going into Jesse and Walt's former partnership, El Camino finally delivered on that most epic of epic cameos: Bryan Cranston's Walter White, who was confirmed to have died at the massacre that ended Season 5. It happens very late in the film, too, just before the story shifts to Alaska.
In the flashback, which was set during Season 2, Jesse and Walt are shown going to eat breakfast together at a hotel, where Jesse is in love the salad bar, including the pineapples. Walt, whose cough is pretty constant, talks to Jesse about going to college for business and marketing, telling him he'd be a whiz, and even self-awarely brings up that he's just making conversation. (That's about all one could have expected from this cameo, after all.) Depressingly, the scene ends with Walt telling Jesse that he was lucky because he didn't have to wait his entire life to do something special. It was masterful, and I wanted more.
Jane Margolis (Krysten Ritter)
While I might have had this surprise in the very back of my mind, I truly didn't expect to get a brand-new appearance from Breaking Bad's Jane Margolis, Jesse's doomed girlfriend as portrayed by Krysten Ritter. Her Season 2 death – in which Walt looked on, horrified, as she choked to death on her own vomit – was a major catalyst for several different big moments in Jesse and Walt's lives, particularly when Walt straight-up confessed to his lack of action while she died.
Hearts no doubt fluttered when Jesse was fairly obviously talking to Jane on the phone just before Bryan Cranston's cameo, and then in the very end, when Jesse was driving away to his new life in snowy Alaska, Krysten Ritter appeared in the car with him. And suddenly, viewers were transported back to a time when Jane and Jesse were having an oddly placed conversation on the side of the road. There, Jane expressed the notion that it's always better to make decisions for oneself than to let the universe make them. And then that's all she wrote.
Honorable Mention: Brock Cantillo (Ian Posada)
Though the Breaking Bad character of Brock Cantillo didn't show up in El Camino in person, given the actor would be years older than his younger self, Vince Gilligan did not leave him out of the narrative altogether. For one, viewers got to see the picture that the white supremacists tacked up as his motivation to keep cooking. But also, one of Jesse's final acts as "Jesse Pinkman" was to have Ed deliver a letter to Brock, which presumably explained some things about why life got so different for the young boy. Here's hoping he's having a good life as well.
While it may not answer all of our big questions, El Camino: A Breaking Bad can find it streaming now on Netflix (opens in new tab), which is also where fans can relive all five seasons of Breaking Bad, and the first three seasons of Better Call Saul. And don't forget that it's also screening in a limited selection of theaters across the country, so be sure to check your local listings.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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